Caution urged after more cases of Indian Covid-19 variant found in Bedford

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Public health officials are urging people to be cautious after more cases of the Indian Covid variant were discovered in Bedford.

It comes ahead of the next stage of reopening on Monday when entertainment and hospitality venues will be able to welcome customers inside.

In Bedford, the number of coronavirus cases has doubled in the past week,  where there are currently 71 cases per one hundred thousand in the town, compared to 38 last week. 

That means that the number of positive cases has also increased from 67 to 124 in the past week. 

People are out and about in the town Credit: ITV Anglia

There are plenty of people out and about though, apparently not put off by a new strain of coronavirus in the town...but still there's concern.

Here's a selection of voices from the town.

"Of course it's extremely worrying, that goes without saying, because it's even affecting people even below 40 years of age."

"I am very worried about this, but if you be careful for your kids for all the people - social distance, mask, hand wash - that's it."

"If it's on the increase then another lockdown could be on the cards couldn't it?"

"It is worrying but I'm very careful, very cautious, what else can you do?"

"I can understand people being scared of it and saying oh no it's another variant, but look how many variants there are already."

Health bosses want people to stay cautious and get tested.

Albero's Lounge by the river in Bedford Credit: ITV Anglia

At this cafe bar by the river - it's been alfresco since April

But they're confident the Covid vaccine will help bring customers back indoors next week.

Luke Martin, the General Manager at Albero Lounge says people who've been vaccinated are more confident about going out.

"I think for us we're not too worried about it going forward - obviously, if it does worsen then it could create a longer term problem, but I think at the minute, right now, we're still very confident that we're going to be as busy as ever."

James Pharaoh is Director of The Quarry Theatre in the town Credit: ITV Anglia

And at the Quarry Theatre at St Lukes they're preparing for a full house next Friday night.

The first show since they closed before Christmas.

James Pharoah, the Director, said: "We are constantly every morning looking at the data and we're listening to what's being said by the government and the scientists and we'll just be guided by them and it may be that we make our own independent decision, it might be that members of the audience get in contact and say look we're not happy about coming in and it might be that we have to do what we're used to doing and postponing and event, but fingers crossed we won't have to do that this time."

Cases of Covid-19 in Bedford are rising Credit: ITV Anglia

About half of the population in Bedford have now had their first Covid jab.

But with restrictions easing again next week - and talk of cautious cuddling...

Some health experts think more caution's needed.

Professor Gurch Randhawa, from Bedfordshire University, says early data on the Indian variant suggests it may transmit more quickly.

He thinks it more caution may be needed.

So - even though we'll be able to meet up indoors again next week, the advice here is to stay outside if you can in the hope of a more sociable summer.